North America

California’s New COVID-19 Vaccine (Non)Mandate and Testing Requirements

Our colleagues Adam C. Abrahms and Juan Larios of Epstein Becker Green recently published an Act Now Advisory that will be of interest to our readers: “California’s New COVID-19 Vaccine (Non)Mandate and Testing Requirements.”

The following is an excerpt:

On July 26, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued a State Public Health Officer Order (“Order”) seeking to address the increase California is experiencing in positive COVID-19 cases. With infections of the COVID-19 Delta variant rising, Governor Gavin Newsom and State Public Health Officer Tomás Aragón issued the Order as an effort to reduce COVID-19 infections in California. However, contrary to some press reports, the Order is not really a vaccine mandate in any way, shape, or form. As this Advisory describes in detail, in addition to a separate order for employees of the state, the Order applies to certain categories of health care and high-risk facilities, requires verification of workers’ vaccination status and compliance with masking guidelines, and imposes requirements for testing unvaccinated and incompletely vaccinated workers.

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How the PRO Act Could Change Labor Law – Employment Law This Week Video

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at the potential “game changing” legal and policy shifts coming to labor relations.

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, if enacted, would make the most significant changes to the National Labor Relations Act since the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was created in 1935. The PRO Act is a top priority of the union movement in the United States and is supported by President Biden, who claims to be the most pro-union president in U.S. history.  Attorney Steve Swirsky discusses the potential impact the PRO Act could have on employers. Beyond the PRO Act, Steve also looks at how Jennifer Abruzzo’s confirmation as NLRB general counsel could impact the agency’s litigation and enforcement agenda.

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Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … How to Calculate the Correct Overtime Rate for Hourly Employees That Earn Bonuses, Commissions, etc.

1. Introduction

If you have hourly employees that earn bonuses, commissions, or other performance payments, this article is for you.

Properly compensating such employees is often not as simple as paying “time and a half” or “double-time” for qualifying hours.  Rather, federal law, and the laws of many states, require employers to “recalculate” overtime rates to include certain types of non-hourly compensation and pay overtime at those higher rates.  Many employers fail to make such payments, and of those that attempt to pay overtime (and double-time) at rates which incorporate these additional earnings, many fail to do it correctly.  Either circumstance results in a failure to pay earned wages to employees, which may give rise to lawsuits seeking back wages, penalties, and other relief available under state and federal law.

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Senate Confirms Biden Nominee Jennifer Abruzzo as NLRB General Counsel, Paving Way for Pro-Union Shift

On July 21, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jennifer Abruzzo to a four-year term as the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”). Ms. Abruzzo’s confirmation was by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Ms. Abruzzo was sworn in the next day, by NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran. As the NLRB notes, this is “the first time in NLRB history women are serving as both Chairman and General Counsel” of the agency.

Ms. Abruzzo has spent much of her career at the NLRB. She previously served as the Board’s Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel during the Obama administration, and most recently served as Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives to the Communication Workers of America (“CWA”), the country’s largest communications and media labor union. The CWA, like most other unions, is a strong supporter of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, commonly referred to as the “PRO Act.”

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Chambers HNW 2021 Recognizes Connolly Gallagher for Delaware Private Wealth Law

In its 2021 guide, Chambers High Net Worth ranked Connolly Gallagher LLP for Private Wealth Law in Delaware. Sources report the Trusts & Estates team has “a tremendous amount of integrity and deserve a tremendous amount of respect in terms of their ability as lawyers.

Three Connolly Gallagher attorneys appear in the individual rankings of leading Delaware Private Wealth Law lawyers, with Gregory Weinig recognized for the second year in a row in Band 1 for Private Wealth Law. In addition, Scott Swenson has been recognized in Band 1 for Private Wealth Disputes.

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A Growing Number of California Counties, Including Los Angeles and San Francisco, Change Course on Indoor Masking

Counties across California are making a detour on the road to easing COVID-19 restrictions.

Los Angeles County  

On July 16, 2021, Los Angeles County issued an Order of the Health Officer (“the Order”) that requires all persons to wear face masks while in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and businesses (i.e., office workplaces, retail, restaurants, theaters, meetings), with limited exceptions.  In indoor settings where there is close contact with unvaccinated individuals, the Order recommends that people consider wearing a higher level of protection, such as two masks (“double masking”) or a KN95 or N95 respirator. In addition to requiring face masks of all patrons, hosts of public indoor settings must also clearly post visible and legible signage, regardless of whether employee(s) are present, at all entry points for indoor and outdoor settings to communicate the masking requirement.

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California Court of Appeal Reaches Perplexing Conclusion That Even Employees Whose Claims Are Time-Barred Can Still Bring PAGA Representative Actions

In a decision that seems like to be reviewed by the California Supreme Court or rejected by other California Courts of Appeal, one of California’s appellate courts has issued a perplexing decision holding that even employees whose claims are time-barred can file representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).

In Gina Johnson v. Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., the Fourth Appellate District held that the plaintiff could pursue PAGA claims on behalf of other employees even though her own claims were barred by the statute of limitations.

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Congratulations to Our Nine Attorneys Named to Mountain States Super Lawyers and Rising Stars 2021

Royal Oak, Mich., July 22, 2021 – Royal Oak, Mich.-based Howard & Howard is pleased to announce that nine of our attorneys have been named to Mountain States Super Lawyers® and Mountain States Rising Stars 2021. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area. Mountain States Super Lawyers covers the states of Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Only five percent of the attorneys in each state were named to the Super Lawyers list and two- and one-half percent to Rising Stars.

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Philippe Brassard Joins Our Business Law Group

July 22, 2021 — Philippe Brassard, who was officially called to the Bar yesterday, is joining RSS’s Business Law Group, within which he had already made his mark as an articling student. An alumnus of the University of Montréal, he has a passion for the business world that clients have come to appreciate.

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Delaware Set to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 by 2025

On July 19, 2021, Delaware Governor John Carney signed legislation that will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. This is a substantial increase from Delaware’s current minimum wage of $9.25 per hour. The minimum wage requirements apply to all employers who employ individuals in the state.

Following the examples set by neighboring Maryland and New Jersey, Delaware’s minimum wage increase will occur in phases. Effective January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour. Thereafter, the minimum wage will increase annually on the following schedule:

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